Monday, February 4, 2019

How to Live Your Life Purpose: Longing, Part Three

Have you ever wondered whether you are living up to your full potential, particularly as you straddle the doldrums of parenthood? If so, I invite you to join me in my newest series entitled, "How to Live Your Life Purpose." In the coming months, you'll discover how living your life purpose can be divided into six different movements or steps. We are currently exploring the first step, which is longing. You can read the introduction or biblical discussion of this step from the past two weeks. Today, we'll explore the topic more theologically. 

Next week's post will conclude the first step. I will be sharing it exclusively with my subscribers; it will not appear on my website! Read about my own experience with longing and the day I first received my call to ministry. Be sure that you have subscribed here so that you do not miss it! I am excited to share it with you. And stay tuned for the next post here in two weeks. We'll begin step two, which is surrender. Thank you for your support!

Pacifying our longing will no doubt require our obedience to God in a variety of contexts, just as it did for Rebekah. She needed to express multiple roles such as mother, Christian, and writer to find fulfillment. While her expression meant adding something, for others it might mean pulling back. Regardless, its expression will not be unidimensional. Scholar Donald McKim agrees:
Our vocation is to be Christians in all we are, in all we do. For we are much more, as human beings, than merely our professions, important as they may be. We live as relational individuals, related to many, many people in complex networks of human communities. Should we not see our vocations as extending into all these arenas? Should we not see ourselves comprehensively as people called by God to involvement in all these fibers of human life and bring ourselves as Christians to them all? Yes, we should. *
In this context, living one’s vocation is synonymous with living their life purpose. A recognition of the complexities of life purpose allows us to better recognize and label our longing.

Mathew Arnold conveyed this truth poetically, “Resolve to be thyself: and know that he, who finds himself, loses his misery!” While longing and its associated misery can be alleviated by living our life purpose, there is a human tendency to avoid it. Theologian John Calvin observed “with what great restlessness human nature flames, with what fickleness it is borne hither and thither, how its ambition longs to embrace various things at once.” Living our life purpose therefore is a call to an obedient discipline of sorts. Its fruit is not only satisfaction, but direction. 

Direction is a gift ripe for our modern age. It’s so easy to live with full schedules and thin souls. We can live pressed for time and mired in commitment, such that life’s intangibles are choked out. These intangibles can include quality family time, faith experiences, relaxation, and the mental space for discernment. Checklists and resumes tell one side of the story; they don’t convey what opportunities were lost. Sitting with our longing, our thin souls, and taking time for introspection can allow us to make different decisions, better decisions. In effect, it’s God’s way of orienting our lives back to him as we grasp our full purpose like a pearl. In an exclusive story available only to subscribers next week, I will share what a moment like this looked like for me!

Donald K. McKim, "The ‘Call’ in the Reformed Theology," Major Themes in the Reformed Tradition, edited by Donald K. McKim (Eugene, Oregon: Wipf and Stock Publishers, 1998), 341.

Questions to think about this week: Do you regularly allow time for introspection? How is it easiest for you to commune with God in daily living? Can you identify any challenges to proactively addressing longing in your life?

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